Crop Tech

April 23, 2016 02:04 AM

Bayer Requests Hearing Over Belt

An ongoing disagreement between Bayer and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the safety of Belt insecticide is now moving to the next step—an administrative hearing.

Since approval in 2008, EPA has tracked Belt’s environmental impact. Due to concerns with the active ingredient flubendiamide, the agency is trying to stop the sale of the product. “Belt was issued a time-limited registration so Bayer could quickly take the product off the market if environmental concerns arose,” said EPA in an email response. In February, Bayer rejected EPA’s request to voluntarily pull the insecticide from the market.

U.S. pesticide regulation law requires a final ruling by the administrative law judge within 75 days of receiving the hearing request. In the meantime, the insecticide can remain on the market and farmers can use Belt.

According to Bayer, an administrative hearing will help protect Belt from cancellation, shielding EPA from independent peer review and other government and stakeholder input. Bayer is asking the administrative judge and environmental appeals board to determine if a more complete public review will occur. 

Seed Treatment Urges Microbial Activity 

All farmers rely on soil for their livelihood. Agnition is launching Commence for Corn to help stimulate microbes in the soil, which they say increases plant health.

Since Commence doesn’t contain protective properties, the company says the product should be added over the top of base seed treatments that protect against nematodes, fungi and insects. Instead, Commence stimulates microbes native to the soil to help keep nutrients in the root zone, move nutrients into the roots and convert nutrients into available forms—ultimately increasing germination and root mass, growing thicker stalks and making healthier plants.

Motor Oil Manufacturer to Use High-Oleic Soybeans

Biosynthetic Technologies, a renewable chemical manufacturer in Irvine, Calif., is building a facility to make motor oil out of high-oleic soybean oil. It will be the manufacturer's first facility capable of generating 20 million gallons of soy-based motor oil annually. 

The United Soybean Board estimates up to 1 billion pounds of high-oleic soybean oil could be used for industrial purposes in the next five years. To use high-oleic soybean oil in motor oil, the American Petroleum Institute (API) has to verify biosynthetic motor oil passes certain standards. The soybean checkoff worked with Biosynthetic Technologies to gain certification from API.

The soy-based motor oil is expected to be comparably priced and perform on par with petroleum motor oil. The soy-based product meets Environmental Protection Agency requirements for biodegradability, aquatic toxicity and buildup. You can anticipate purchasing the soy-based motor oil in about three years.

Herbicide-Tolerant Sorghum Now Available

Sorghum farmers can now use herbicides with active ingredients nicosulfuron and rimsulfron for over-the-top application. The hybrid offered by Alta Seeds uses the Inzen herbicide-tolerant trait developed by Advanta Seeds and DuPont Crop Protection. The trait is native and developed through natural breeding processes. Alta Seeds says they are the first company to offer the product.

Grass weeds can reduce sorghum yield by 20% or 13 bu. per acre. The Inzen trait allows use of herbicides that control foxtail, barnyardgrass, Texas panicum and crabgrass. DuPont will offer Zest post emergent grass herbicide to pair with the trait. Zest is not yet registered with the Environmental Protection Agency.

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